Title: Sense8 A Christmas Special s02e00
Director: Lana Wachowski
Writers: Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Starring: Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith, Freema Agyeman, Daryl Hannah, Aml Ameen, Toby Onwumere, Alfonso Herrera, Max Mauff, Purab Kohli, and more
Duration: 2 hours
Sense8 – A Christmas Special did a better job helping me understand the series idea of dealing with a hive mentality than season one of the series did.
In case you didn’t know, Sense8 (a play on the word sensate /ˈsɛnseɪt/) is an American science fiction drama web television series created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski for Netflix. A multinational ensemble cast portrays eight strangers from different parts of the world who suddenly become “sensates”; human beings who are mentally and emotionally linked. The show aims to explore subjects that its creators feel have historically not been emphasized in most science fiction shows to date, such as politics, identity, sexuality, gender and religion. Some people may find some of the show’s content objectionable and/or disturbing.
How would you feel about having all of your thoughts, and everything you have ever done or felt laid bare in front of complete strangers? Except when you are connected like the characters in Sense8, they aren’t strangers anymore, and that’s the idea behind this interesting series. Admittedly I didn’t think much of this show in season one, I realized i was too hung up on my own prejudices and narrow-minded view of the world to appreciate it for what it is – a fascinating depiction of being part of a hive mind and all of the advantages and shortcomings it implies.
Sense8 tells the story of eight strangers: Capheus, Sun, Nomi, Kala, Riley, Wolfgang, Lito and Will, each from a different culture and part of the world. When the eight suddenly experience a vision of the violent death of a woman called Angelica, they discover that they are “sensates”: otherwise normal humans linked with a mental and emotional connection, making them able to sense and communicate with each other, as well as share their knowledge, language and skills.
While trying to live their lives and figure out how and why this connection has happened and what it means, they are aided by another sensate, Jonas, who is trying to protect them from a similarly empowered sensate called Mr Whispers (Terrence Mann) the show’s villain , who leads an organization that hunts down his own kind by tapping into their psychic link. His menace is well portrayed and almost palpable whenever he is onscreen.
After watching Sense8 A Christmas Special, its growing on me, although I am still disturbed and made uncomfortable by some of the images graphically portrayed on the screen, I am starting to think that maybe the world would would be a better place if we all experienced life like the show’s characters do, at least for a little while. Compassion and understanding of others would certainly be increased and also the idea of being there for someone takes on a whole new meaning.
That’s the idea behind Sense8, it throws all of the conventional ideas about privacy and separateness out the window, it involves a lot of helping others out in obvious ways like lending skills you might have the you can share with those that don’t, but also in other less concrete ways like lending a sense of perspective on a situation or just being there and being understanding. Its an effective reminder we are all connected, if only we could remember that more often the world would be a better place
There’s a down side to it like experiencing things you’d rather not experience, but here’s also the idea of sharing the joy you feel along withe joy felt by others more thoroughly and intimately leading to a fully experienced true meaning of celebration. Speaking of intimacy there’s a lot of that, and it would definitely take some getting used to.
The series does a good job of portraying the advantages and the drawbacks of being connected to others in such an intimate fashion up to and including scenes that portray nudity and sexual situations. There are also elements of suspense, and action. Its not all somber and heavy drama, there’s also moments that are very amusing as well as uplifting, touching, and thought provoking.
I found the two-hour special very enjoyable and it seemed to go by quickly. It was never boring , but because of the size of the ensemble cast, and the fact the story suddenly changes locations often without warning, some viewers may find it confusing to some degree. I did not. The series does a good job portraying a nearly full spectrum of the human condition in an entertaining and sometimes amusing, sometimes dramatic, but mostly enjoyable way that is engaging and provocative. Production quality is very good and the cast is also, I especially enjoyed the performance of Doona Bae as Sun Bak.